My mother was a very sensible woman but also a woman with a great sense of humor. She could tell a joke or weave a yarn with the best of them but at the end of the story you knew it was a joke or a tall tale. Once, while I was visiting on break from college, she told me this story.
She said that her mother had always believed an old wives tale that suggested if one would shake an empty purse or wallet in the light of waxing full moon, money would soon come your way. She said that was something of a tradition in her family for everyone to go out on full moons and do this. When some unexpected cash showed up for whatever reason it was fun to attribute it to the ritual. She told me that just for some nostalgic fun she had done the moon ritual the week prior to me arriving home for the visit.
The next night when she went out to feed the dogs, on her way back she found almost two hundred dollars on the back porch in scattered bills of various denominations. She didn’t immediately connect it to the moon ritual and thought; perhaps, she had somehow dropped it out there herself. Although she was sure she had gotten it all, she went back out just to check, this time turning on the back porch light. There, in almost the same spot, was another one hundred and seventy five dollars. I have to explain that this back porch was a small raised concrete platform that stood above the surrounding patio a good foot and a half. So any thought of someone else losing it and having it blow up there repeatedly was a near impossibility. Twice more that night she went out and found money on the porch. In the end it totaled almost eight hundred dollars. Immediately my first thought was that my dad was playing a joke on her, but dad had been at a Shriner’s convention in New Orleans that week giving him a perfect alibi. If my dad had put someone else up to it the dogs would certainly have barked and my mom swears she didn’t hear a thing. She also told me that since it was a cold snowy night she had even walked around the outside of the house with a flashlight looking for someone hiding around the corner or for footprints in the snow. There was nothing.
Although I was expecting one, there was no punch line to her story. To make it even more believable to me, she never spent the money. She kept it in a box in her closet like she expected someone, someday, to show up and claim it. My dad, to this day has never claimed any responsibility for the event. If it had been my dad I’m sure he would have claimed the glory of pulling the perfect prank by now.
Was it a magic moon or just some strange set of circumstances that left the money on the porch? In the words of Sherlock Holmes, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
Please excuse me while I empty out my wallet and spend a few moments in the light of this beautiful moon.